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4/05/2008

The Business of Dying

The lawyers are in a business to fight for justice and honour. In layman's term it is actually a business of threat. The rich and powerful pay to threaten people. The threatened pay because they were threatened. The undertakers are in the business of filial piety. People pay generously for the last rites, a show of filial piety to their parents and loved ones. What business are the doctors in? They are in a noble business to save lives. Or in layman's interpretation, the fear of death, or business of dying. In this business, there is not only the element of fear, there is also the element of filial piety, and also some elements of threat. What a powerful combination. How on earth would people be willingly pay the hospital bills without question? How on earth would people admit their love ones into hospitals without checking the price first? How on earth could hospitals charge patients $10k/$15k or more a day just to find out what is the cause of the illness and get away with it? And the best part of it is that the patient still dies. I am still very troubled by the $70k hospital bill for 4 days. The family had to pay $70k for the patient to die in a hospital. That is not a cheap way to die. It is not a good way to spend $70k in 4 days. I would very much like to know the breakdown of the bill to see how a hospital justifies this kind of bills. Let me make a guesstimate. A class ward charges at $500 a day. Food at $100 a day. Nurses attendance at $500 a day. Medicine at $500 a day. There must be such medicine available. Specialists attendance at $2000 a day. Too much or reasonable? Use of top of the line equipment at $1000 a day. Now how much will all these adds up to? $4,600. Add 7% GST, round it to $400. This will come to $5k a day. The rest must be miscellaneous I supposed. It is driving me bonkers.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lawyers and hospitals are making money out of other people's miseries. Die die your business. Of course they will say they never force you to come to them in the first place.

redbean said...

no, think you are wrong. both are help and saving you. one from lawsuit the other from sickness and death.

Anonymous said...

At what price?

Matilah_Singapura said...

Regardless about what people's emotions tell them about businesses making profit, consider the alternative of those businesses not being there to provide the service.

ALL businessmen (gender neutral context) are acting as AGENTS for the customer. i.e. he sources what is necessary for the satisfaction of the customer's needs, and brings it to the customer. e.g. a supermarket brings the food, presents it to the customer who can choose to buy or not. A lawyer brings his knowledge of the law and his experience and provides the customer with legal services.

It is the govt who corrupts the whole one-on-one process between customer and business provider. Govt regulates and taxes—it is the UNWELCOME 3rd party that appears in every deal.

Govt interference jacks up the price and acts as a barrier to competition, so that the prices are kept artificially high.

Anonymous said...

Exploitative or predatory capitalism is harming Singaporeans.

It is human selfishness and greediness that is driving prices up.

Ever heard of HDB leasee driving out their tenant just to rent out to another tenant for a mere increase of $50. It is unheard of in the past!

Yes, it happens. Now!

Therefore, unrestrained capitalism is always a bane for any country.

coolvegan

Matilah_Singapura said...

To anon aka coolvegan

Capitalism has saved the world. If not for capitalism, you wouldn't have a computer to broadcast your personal , self-interested view to the world.

It is interesting how you take a swipe at capitalism, yet use HDB price increases as an example. HDB is a socialist-based government institution, not "capitalistic" by any stretch of the imagination.

Anonymous said...

To Matilah_Singapura,

I refer to exploitative, predatory, and unrestrained forms of capitalist practices.

Read my message carefully.

coolvegan

Matilah_Singapura said...

To coolvegan:

I do read everything very carefully. In my business you'll be reduced to dog-meat (non vegan food) if you don't :-)

There are no such things as "exploitative, predatory, and unrestrained forms of capitalist practices". These are value-judgments made by those who can't or won't compete, and seek instead to blame everyone else for their shitty loser lives, instead of looking at themselves and asking "how" they can be of some "value" to a customer.

If you don't create value for others (regardless of the reasons), you won't get paid. It's as simple as that.

redbean said...

maybe we can't cast the model in the name of capitalism.

moneyism and profit as the only reason for existence, devoid of compassion and human decency.

how to classify these characteristics into an economic model?

Anonymous said...

To Matilah_Singapura,

Whatever your unhappiness with the government or a certain person, it should not hide the fact/truth that certain capitalist practices are exploitative and predatory esp. in exteriorly beautiful Singapore.

Value-judgements are a neccesity on an individual level, otherwise, each of us will just land up as 'meat' on some clever one's table, if that is not already true. (pardon my use of words)

In the free world, no one owe anyone anything. I agree with your point that if you do not create value for other, you won't get paid. But that do not mean, someone is free to exploit others, in any manner they see fit. Unethnical practises remain unethnical, even if you can put a price on them, and there is willing buyer and seller. Don't try to sooth your conscience when doing bad things by using the name of capitalism to cover it up.

What you are saying of capitalism seems like the positive aspects, but it is some practitioners who used the price mechanism to exploit others to add more benefit to their existing benefit (greed).

You and I need to agree that exploitation is negative, otherwise there is no basis for discussion.

I agreed that HDB is a socialist-based government institution (using your words). Even then, the HDB leasees are exploiting it to their benefit.

Ever heard of HDB leasees who rent out their flat/rooms based on the price they leased from HDB than from the open market?? (The leased price from the HDB is almost always lower than from the open market price)

The answer is never. In this way, we are harming ourselves if we let prices spiral upwards out of control. There will be social problems, which in turn affects, most of us, in the end, nobody is happy.

Capitalism never intends to work this way.

coolvegan

Matilah_Singapura said...

> You and I need to agree that exploitation is negative, otherwise there is no basis for discussion. <

No, your are incorrect. We must agree whether "exploitation" exists (in reality) in capitalsim before any meaningful discussion can ensue.

"Exploitation" per se, is neither "negative" or "positive" - it all depends on the context and whether we are taking the words "negative" and "positive" in a moral context.

I'll make my position clear, and then it's up to you:

Exploitation is IMPOSSIBLE in capitalism because capitalism depends on INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM and the individual's ability to exercise his free will i.e. power of choice, volitional action.

In other words, no one can make you do what you don't want to do, thus "exploitation" of the individual is IMPOSSIBLE within the compact of capitalism.

"You can cheat an honest man."

"No one can make you feel bad without your permission"

"No one can make you a victim without you giving him sanction"

Matilah_Singapura said...

> devoid of compassion and human decency. <

The biggest "indecency" is the belief that just because you have a NEED gives you a right to CLAIM the satisfaction of that need from someone else - i.e. the "dependency mentality".

People providing services do so for profit. One 'decent" and "compassionate" example (among many others) about their enterprises is that they can feed their family, educate their children, and have for themselves good lives, whilst improving the lives of their customers who wouldn't have what they need before the provider provided it. And the whole process is VOULUNTARY - no one is forced.

To the folks who moan about paying for something: Countless numbers of people struggle to make it through life - working hard, being smart and being good people. They BUY what they need, not BEG for it, or expect some messiah to appear to satisfy their needs - material and spiritual - for "free".

There is nothng morally "wrong" with the idea of voluntary production and exchange under a rule of law: i.e. capitalism. There is everything wrong with expecting someone else to look after you from cradle to grave, by FORCING other people to pay your way, by voting for a govt to achieve your goals.

redbean said...

what happens is someone else insists on looking after you from cradle to grave and using your own money.

then the bugger turns around and told you off for being too dependent on him and becoming complacent?

Anonymous said...

Men (and women and children) on earth started with everything, and is gradually ending up with nothing.

coolvegan

Anonymous said...

To Matilah_Singapura:

> Exploitation is IMPOSSIBLE in capitalism because capitalism depends on INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM and the individual's ability to exercise his free will i.e. power of choice, volitional action.

> In other words, no one can make you do what you don't want to do, thus "exploitation" of the individual is IMPOSSIBLE within the compact of capitalism.


Ideally, this should be the case but is not so in certain situations.

coolvegan

Matilah_Singapura said...

to coolvegan (please consider getting an account. There are too many "anonymouses" IMO. Thanks)

> Ideally, this should be the case but is not so in certain situations.

It would help if you concretised your claim by sharing a few examples of "certain situations".

In other words, in what situations does capitalism "exploit" a person or persons by FORCING them to act against their ability to choose their actions?

Remember, a person has to be FORECED to act against his will by capitalism - provide examples.

Thanks

Matilah_Singapura said...

> what happens is someone else insists on looking after you from cradle to grave and using your own money. <

First of all, that is NOT capitalism. If we are discussing capitalism, then it would help if you stuck to the subject.

The only agency which can come close in forcing you to do something against your (free) will is The State's agent: The Government. I say "come close" in forcing you. You still have to CHOOSE to act to obey them, or not.

Now, back to capitalism... (i.e. a system of production and exchange based on voluntary association, and individual and private property rights)

redbean said...

i never say that is capitalism. i suggested moneyism or operating for the sake of profit alone.

i agree that ideal capitalism is free wheeling and no interference from the govt. what we have is bastardised capitalism.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Every person and every business takes particular action simply for PROFIT. There is nothing "wrong" with this. i.e. you "act" to achieve "something" you never had before you acted - whether it is tying your shoes, going to the toilet or buying a stock low with the intention of selling high. You "act" in your own self-interest (whether you are aware of it or not) to change your circumstance.

There will always be people who act simply for "money's" sake. Are they "bad people"? Who is to say? Perhaps they need the money to look after their sick mother, or to splurge on their mistress, or to give to their favourite charity, or to have plastic surgery... who is to say what "need" is more "important" than the other?

> what we have is bastardised capitalism. <

The generally accepted economic term is a mixed economy, or from Ludwig von Mises a hampered market.

Still, ultimately markets are demand driven. Markets may be hampered by govt, but they still have "power" and work, even though externalities and moral hazards occur.

Try as one might, govt is not going to go away anytime soon. The degree of intereference also counts. S'pore govt is NOT Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe - i.e. the S'pore govts interference is far less detrimental and far less extensive and intensive than Mugabe's train wreck of the economy.

redbean said...

matilah, you chose an excellent model to compare with our model. compares to zimbabwe, we are truly paradise ten times over.